While most of us have a very basic understanding of what an electrician does, things can seem a bit confusing when it comes to specialized fields. There are many different kinds of electricians out there.
Some specialize in residential work, while others focus on commercial construction, industrial areas, etc. If you are interested in learning more about the different types of electricians, check out the information below.
There are many different ways to break down the different types of electricians, so let's start by dividing the titles based on education.
Electricians can enter the field in a few different ways. One option revolves around the decision to pursue an associate's degree in electrical technology. These programs are offered at trade and technical institutions across the country and usually take about two years to complete.
However, there are other recreational options. Keep in mind that electricians don't need any kind of formal education to start working in the field, but they do need some guidance. Individuals looking for a more direct entry into the trade should look for apprenticeship programs.
These four-year vocational training programs allow individuals to begin working as electricians' assistants immediately. As an apprentice, individuals will enjoy working under the supervision of an experienced professional in the field. They will gain the hands-on experience needed to advance their careers.
Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, individuals will be eligible to take the exam to become a Journeyman Electrician. This title implies that the individual is licensed and able to work unsupervised.
Master electricians are those who have earned the highest electrician certification. These individuals, including women, are qualified to work on more complex projects and can supervise skilled electricians.
There are four areas of specialization to choose from when pursuing a career as an electrician. These titles include Outside Lineman, Inside Lineman, Installation Technician, and Residential Lineman.
Outside linemen handle the transmission of power lines outdoors. They are responsible for ensuring that power lines are working properly and that electricity is properly distributed from the generating facility to the end user.
These electrical contractors work in industrial, commercial and residential markets. High-voltage linemen may work on high-voltage lines hundreds of feet from the ground. This is one of the physical areas where electricians can work.
Outside linemen must undergo extensive safety training, including climbing schools and ongoing high-angle rescue training, in case a co-worker is injured on the job.
These electricians are primarily responsible for local electrical wiring and distribution. This means they are responsible for connecting customers' electrical equipment to the power source.
These contractors often help install plumbing, lighting fixtures and electrical outlets. They may be called upon to inspect and maintain motors and equipment, or to install alarm systems or electrical control panels. They may also be required to inspect, maintain and repair existing systems within a given facility.
Installation technicians work with in-house wiring technicians to install low-voltage cable networks for video, voice or data outlets. Although most of their work is performed indoors, they must often work in less-than-ideal conditions. For example, they may need to report to buildings that have not yet installed air conditioning or heating systems.
Similar to inside wiring workers, residential wiring workers are responsible for connecting customers' electrical equipment to the power source. The similarities between the two titles largely end there, as these electricians work to maintain the electrical systems in the home or perform other types of residential installations.
Residential wiring workers must keep up with technological advances throughout the residential market. They may be required to install computer networks, energy management systems, security systems, fire alarm systems, and electrical distribution systems for lights and outlets throughout the home.
Licensed electricians also have certain areas of specialization to choose from. They may decide to focus on residential, commercial, industrial, or maintenance work. You can find descriptions of some popular areas of specialization below.
Residential electricians are a fairly popular position within the field. These individuals are typically responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and upgrading the electrical systems in your home. This includes lighting, heating and cooling systems. Residential electricians will work in many residential settings, including houses, apartments, condos, and more. They can work independently or for an electrical contractor.
Commercial electricians perform similar duties to residential electricians but work in commercial buildings. Depending on the number of people who frequent the workplace, commercial electricians must always keep public safety in mind. Commercial electricians may also be required to install office-appropriate security systems, electronic systems, and heating and cooling systems.
You can find industrial electricians who work on large projects in industrial facilities such as factories, manufacturing facilities, and power plants. Industrial electricians use large mechanical and computer systems to facilitate industrial processes. The electrical work required in these buildings will exceed that required in a commercial or residential setting.
Maintenance electricians must install, maintain and monitor the electrical systems operating in plants and factories. They are responsible for performing routine inspections to check current equipment. If the operating condition is not up to standard, repair or plan for replacement of equipment promptly.
Installation electricians install electrical systems in new buildings. This includes setting up all electrical equipment and wiring for lighting, heating and cooling, and security systems. They may divide their time between residential, commercial and industrial projects.
Construction electricians also perform electrical work in new buildings. These contractors must perform basic wiring and have extensive knowledge of building codes, safety procedures and similar topics.
Automotive electricians specialize in the installation and maintenance of many electrical systems in motor vehicles. These electricians may also rely on computer-based repair tools to complete projects. Workers must have a thorough understanding of vehicle diagnostics, performance electronics, powertrains, and other aspects of motor vehicles.
One of the rarer specialties in the electrical industry as a whole, marine electricians may be trained at specialized trade or marine technical schools. Marine electricians typically work on jobs involving watercraft, such as small boats, ships, yachts and other marine equipment.
Highway system electricians, also known as highway electrical system electricians, are responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing and upgrading the electrical infrastructure used on roads, such as street lights, signs and traffic management systems. These individuals hold certifications and licenses that enable them to work with electronic equipment in the roadway systems needed to maintain a safe and sustainable transportation system.
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